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Will LeBron James play at the Olympics? He doesn’t know

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LeBron James was named one of 44 finalists for the U.S. Olympic basketball team on Monday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will accept a roster spot come June.

“My name is in the hat, and It’s always predicated on, one, my body, how my body’s feeling at the end of the season. I hope to make it a long playoff run,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 125-100 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. “Then where my mind is, and then where my family’s head is. So there’s a lot of factors, but my name is in the hat.”

James’ stance sounded unchanged from before the NBA season, when he also stopped short of saying he planned to be in Tokyo.

“Team USA? Um … I don’t know,” he said on Sept. 27. “See how I can do throughout this season. I will address that at some point, hopefully have an opportunity to have a conversation with coach Pop [Gregg Popovich].”

At 35, James will be older come the Tokyo Opening Ceremony than all but one previous U.S. Olympic men’s basketball player: Larry Bird in 1992.

He skipped the 2016 Rio Games to rest after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title. Other stars also missed the Rio Olympics for various reasons, including Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, all fellow Tokyo finalists.

Perhaps a player even more valuable to Team USA is James’ Lakers teammate Anthony Davis. Davis said Monday night that he did not know whether he would accept a roster spot.

“I’m getting old,” the 26-year-old said, smiling.

Davis spoke at greater length when asked before the season.

“I want to play USA Basketball,” he said Sept. 27. “If I get the opportunity to do so, they invite me, I definitely would love to do so. So, hopefully, guys are listening. So Pop, I’m ready.”

If the U.S. is thin anywhere, it’s at center. Neither of the 2016 Olympic centers is a Tokyo finalist (injured DeMarcus Cousins and healthy DeAndre Jordan). Outside of Davis, none of the NBA’s All-Star centers this season are Americans: Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Rudy Gobert (France), Nikola Jokic (Serbia) and Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania).

MORE: Kobe Bryant: Redeem Team 2 might not be enough

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LeBron James’ Olympic stance unswayed by U.S. failure at FIBA World Cup

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Since the U.S. flamed out of the FIBA World Cup two weeks ago, a host of NBA superstars declared some level of intent to play for the U.S. Olympic team next year: Stephen CurryJames HardenRussell Westbrook and Anthony Davis to name the most high profile.

LeBron James stopped short of saying he planned to be in Tokyo in July. He was asked about it Friday.

“Team USA? Um … I don’t know,” James said. “See how I can do throughout this season. I will address that at some point, hopefully have an opportunity to have a conversation with Coach [Gregg Popovich].”

While James was named to a preliminary 35-man national team player pool in April, along with every other top American, he hasn’t publicly committed to accepting one of the 12 roster spots, should he be offered one.

James, who turns 35 on Dec. 30, will be older come the Tokyo Opening Ceremony than all but one previous U.S. Olympic men’s basketball player (Larry Bird). He announced six weeks before the Rio Games that he would skip that tournament rather than play at the Games for a fourth straight time.

But James could be swayed with Popovich taking over for Mike Krzyzewski this Olympic cycle. He has called Popovich the greatest coach in the league and said that the Spurs’ leader’s hiring “factors a lot” into his decision on Tokyo 2020.

MORE: Kobe Bryant: Redeem Team 2 might not be enough

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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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